Shanna Benson, Treasurer, is a Tucson native and first became involved with Iskashitaa in the summer of 2006, when she joined Iskashitaa as a planning and marketing intern. She has extensive experience in general management, sales, and accounting/finance in the service sector in both Tucson, AZ and San Diego, CA. Shanna graduated with her MBA from the University of Arizona Eller College in 2007. She is the Business Manager at Thompson Law Group, P.C., a local law firm that specializes in serving as general counsel for small businesses and representing debtors in bankruptcy.  Shanna is married and has two sons.  She is honored to serve on Iskashitaa’s board as it demonstrates some of the values closest to her heart: cooperation, communication, understanding, and (training to promote) self-reliance.

Michael Oster has a background in real estate and economics. He is interested in creating economic opportunities for refugees through innovative, community-based businesses. His grandmother was a refugee who was resettled in America after World War II, and Iskashitaa’s mission has a special meaning for him. He is committed to building a welcoming and supportive environment for future generations.

Mathurin Maoundonodji originally from Chad, Africa has an Associate in Business Management from Pima Community College. Mathurin is currently assisting as an AVID Tutor at Catalina Magnet High School. After serving as an AmeriCorps member for three years, Mathurin came to Iskashitaa Refugee Network (IRN) with a deep appreciation of refugees’ challenges and the importance of community nonprofits. He is pursuing his BBA with an emphasis in global business from Northern State University. He volunteers on a weekly basis at IRN and is thrilled to launch on the Iskashitaa Board of Directors path to align with his academics and future endeavors to make the world a better place.

Sara Nabi, born in Afghanistan, fled to Pakistan with her mother and 7 siblings. She has lived in Tucson Arizona for 16 years, finished High School and started college. In 2005 she and her family met Barbara as they lived among a sea of Somali Bantu families. Her and her siblings were always eager to help, take swim lessons or assist with food redistribution. Sara, her mother, and her siblings are wonderful cooks and love to help welcome refugee families with gleaned fruit and produce as well as all kinds of donations. She is a young leader in her own community and eager to gain leadership skills on the Board of Directors.

Tom Ball was immediately drawn to Iskashitaa Refugee Network after his first community harvest on 2011. As a pediatrician, his educational path included Johns Hopkins University, Tulane University, and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. He began his practice in Nogales as a member of The National Health Service Corps. Later, after practicing one year in Malawi, he completed his public health degree at the University of Arizona and ultimately joined their pediatric faculty practice, including serving as medical director of Casa de los Niños. He is committed to improving the social, emotional and physical health of our most vulnerable residents. As a board member, he would like all Southern Arizonans to experience the social, cross-cultural and agricultural enjoyment of an Iskashitaa harvest and related activities to encourage inclusion.

Joel Summer

Patricia Raines

Advisory Committee

Robbie Dick was born in the Roaring Twenties in Ely, Nevada, a mining town in the northeastern Nevada high desert. She earned a degree in chemistry with a minor in math from Occidental College and worked as a chemist for a while. Then Robbie discovered she could work as a waitress and travel!  So she did! First to National Parks all over and then to South America on a steamer. After marrying and having kids she and her family travelled to camp in Mexico and Europe.  She has always contributed to the social activism of the Methodist Church most significantly, she and her husband were very active in the Citizen Diplomacy work at St. Francis. This involved fifteen trips to the Soviet Union to encourage dialog in an attempt to end the cold war. They have visited over twenty countries on several continents since 1995. In her lifetime of travel Robbie found that people may look different, eat different foods, and speak different languages, but are all basically the same wonderful human beings. That is why she feels passionate about Iskashitaa’s important effort, to interact with refugees and learn from them, as they learn from us. And she feels she has lived through too many wars. She wisely believes that if we get to know each other, we have a better chance for peace.

Roberta Elliott is an activist, journalist and photographer. Since retiring three years ago from a lifetime of professional work in the Jewish community - the majority of which was at HIAS, the Jewish refugee agency - she has devoted herself to volunteer work, primarily with refugees both here and abroad. She is madly in love with Tucson, where she is a full-time winter resident and comes as frequently as possible throughout the year. In NJ, where she spends the rest of the year, she is the lead on the welcome team for a family of refugees that arrived from Syria in May. She is particularly pleased to be on the board of Iskashitaa, because she thinks it’s merging of food justice and refugee work is a brilliant business model.

Joan Hall is a Tucson resident of eight years. She is a microfinance consultant and has worked all over the world. She served on nonprofit boards since 2010, including her neighborhood association board. She joined the Iskashitaa board in 2014. She is committed to improving the lives of the refugees with whom Iskashitaa works, and to making Iskashitaa a more sustainable organization with greater outreach so as to benefit more refugees.

Norm Weber was born in St. Louis Mo., attended Elmhurst College then the University of Missouri to receive his M.D. He then earned Master’s in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Norm served in the U.S. Army in the late 1960s, and helped start one of the first Pediatric Nurse Practitioner programs. He served in private practice in Tucson, AZ and Olympia, Washington until his retirement in the 1990s. Norm is married, has nine grandchildren and is a member of St. Francis in the Foothills, UMC. He has served on other Boards, including Tucson Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the Interfaith Coalition for Homeless and Childbirth Education. He is a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He is pleased and honored to serve on the Iskashitaa Board as Iskashitaa’s mission coincides with his life’s work.

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